Gordon Bennett Route
"relive the race"
Bennett Route Map

County Carlow


A journey along Carlow's gentle waterways leads the visitor to a tranquil bygone time. The Rivers Barrow and Slaney and their many tributaries provide exciting activities for the passive and active water enthusiast.

The River Barrow has its source in the Slieve Bloom and Devil's Bit mountains and is Ireland's second largest river system running for 192km from its source to the sea. Fringed with reeds and river flowers, and harbouring a wealth of wildlife in her banks, the River Barrow bears boats and barges along 68km of navigable waterway past pretty riverside villages and through 23 Victorian locks. The Barrow was a significant commercial canalised waterway right up to the 1960s, with important river ports at Athy, Carlow, Graiguenamanagh and New Ross. Barges carried consignments of malting barley to Dublin as raw material for the famous Guinness stout, which was transported back downstream in its finished state, and later beet-filled barges supplied Ireland's first sugar factory at Carlow. The advent of rail transport in the 1960s signalled its decline.

However, in recent times, the river has experienced an exciting rejuvenation with a range of outdoor activities for the sports enthuasiast. Cruising the River Barrow is a unique experience due to its unspoilt, uncommercialized and uncrowded waters. There are no long queues passing through locks and no problems getting space at quaysides. The waters of the Barrow are suitable for swimmers, while the track line and woodlands beside the river offer a superb walking environment. Cyclists and walkers can explore the historic castles and ruins and the scenic countryside on the quiet roads each side of the river. A journey along the gentle River Barrow takes the traveller to a tranquil bygone time where bird watching, canoeing, angling and boating can all be enjoyed at ease.


The marina in Leighlinbridge offers berthing for up to 25 boats on the banks of the River Barrow in Leighlinbridge beside the renowned restaurant The Lord Bagenal Inn. Water and showers available to users.
Contact: Mr. James Kehoe, The Lord Bagenal Inn
Tel: 059-9721668

Barrowline Cruisers is a friendly, family owned and operated cruiser hire base on the Grand Canal at Vicarstown. This well equipped base is ideally located to allow you explore the full extent of the Grand Canal and the River Barrow. Newly constructed barges by master craftsmen are simple to operate and combine the traditional charm of the past with modern day conveniences.
Contact: Mr. Philip Crean Tel: 0502-26060Fax: 0502-25544
Website: Email:

Angling on the Rivers Barrow and Slaney

The River Barrow is a unique recreational fishery, facilitating both game and coarse angling. The Barrow also supports a fishery for twaite shad and plays host to a prestigious international shad fishing competition. The Barrow is renowned as a game and coarse angling river for salmon, brown trout, roach, rudd, pike, perch and tench with easy access to all parts of the river from the Barrow towpath. The salmon and trout fishing season on the River Barrow commenced on 17.03.06 and finishes on 30.09.06.

Good trout fishing can be enjoyed at a number of locations on the river and its tributaries. The area behind the Dolmen Hotel in Carlow has enhanced fishing in this stretch. Between Goresbridge and Graiguenamanagh and at Milford the fishing can be very good and trout of up to 2lbs can be caught. Below the weir in St.Mullins the trout are small (.5lb) but plentiful. The rivers Greese and Lerr, tributaries of the River Barrow can provide excellent trout fishing. September is the best month for salmon fishing with the majority of fish taken below the weir at St. Mullins and some at Borris. From Lanigan's Lock in Carlow trout, salmon & coarse fishing is particularly good.

The excellent stocks of quality pike are one of the main attractions for anglers on the River Barrow, with abundant stocks of 20lbs+. Pike angling is carried out on all stretches of the river between Athy and St.Mullins. The main coarse angling locations are Bahana Wood (just above St. Mullins) and at Graiguenamanagh. Bream and hybrids are the primary species but rudd is also abundant here. Other favoured locations are Carlow, Leighlinbridge and Bagenalstown, with bream and hybrids being the main attractions in these areas.

Fishing on the River Slaney is mainly private although daily permits to fishing stretches are available to visitors through the Tullow Trout & Salmon Angling Club (visitors are asked to contact Mr. Richard Burgess 059-9161211) at a cost of €25.00 per day (daily permits limited to four per day). The trout and salmon fishing season extends from 10th March to 31st August. Full explanation of fishing stretches available with day permit. Fly fishing only allowed for salmon and trout on the River Slaney from 1st May. In the interests of conservation 1 salmon per rod per day is allowed. The Slaney gets a reasonable run of spring salmon and the average weight of the salmon is 10 pounds. A small number of grilse are also taken annually. The river also gets a run of sea-trout with the best time being from the end of June to August.



Attractions By Stages
Ballyshannon To Carlow
Carlow To Athy
Athy To Kildare
Kildare To The Heath
The Heath To Athy

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